Healthy Breathing for Stress Reduction: The Power of Cyclic Sighing

Key Takeaways:

  • Cyclic sighing, a form of breathwork, was found to be the most effective practice for reducing stress throughout the day and improving mood and sleep.
  • A physiological sigh, consisting of a double inhale through the nose followed by a long exhale, is the quickest way to induce calm.
  • Practicing cyclic sighing for five minutes a day can lead to significant improvements in physiological and psychological well-being.
Healthy Breathing for Stress Reduction: The Power of Cyclic Sighing


In the quest for tranquility amidst life’s turbulence, breathwork emerges as a beacon of calm. A recent study has illuminated a simple yet potent practice: cyclic sighing. This method not only alleviates stress at the moment but also enhances overall well-being with consistent daily practice.

The Study’s Findings on Breathwork vs. Meditation

Comparing various forms of breathwork and meditation, the study discovered that while meditation offers numerous cognitive benefits, cyclic sighing provides the most substantial stress reduction when practiced for five minutes daily.

Cyclic Sighing: A Daily Dose of Calm

Cyclic sighing involves a pattern of double inhales through the nose—maximizing lung expansion—and a prolonged exhale through the mouth. This practice not only reduces stress during the exercise but also establishes a calmer baseline state that persists throughout the day.

Real-Time Stress Control: The Physiological Sigh

For immediate stress relief, a single physiological sigh can quickly recalibrate the nervous system. This natural response, which we often do subconsciously, has been shown to be an effective tool for on-the-spot stress management.

Final Thoughts

With cyclic sighing’s proven efficacy in managing stress and enhancing mood, incorporating this simple practice into your daily routine can be a transformative step towards sustained peace and resilience.

What to do next?

Allocate five minutes of your day to cyclic sighing. Find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably and engage in the practice, focusing on the rhythm of your breath and the sensation of release with each exhale. Notice the immediate effects on your stress levels and observe the long-term benefits with consistent practice.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is cyclic sighing better than meditation for stress reduction?

According to the study, cyclic sighing was found to be more effective for reducing stress throughout the day compared to a short daily meditation practice.

How does a physiological sigh work to reduce stress?

A physiological sigh triggers a response in the nervous system that balances the sympathetic (“fight or flight”) and parasympathetic (“rest and digest”) states, leading to immediate stress relief.

Can anyone do cyclic sighing, or is it only for those with breathing issues?

Cyclic sighing is a practice that can benefit anyone looking to manage stress, regardless of whether they have breathing issues.

About the author:
Shahane Tan

Shahane Tan

Shahane Tan, a Nursing graduate from Xavier University, combines healthcare expertise with roles in real estate and life coaching. Passionate about holistic well-being, her insights bridge science and practicality. Explore her balanced wellness approach at

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